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PAGE 106:
CHAPTER III

Dr. Laidlie (now made a Doctor in Divinity by the College at Princeton) was a man not only of ardent piety and remarkable pulpit talents, but also of more than common discernment and prudence; possessing precisely those qualities, the exercise of which, in his difficult situation, was indispensably necessary to the enjoyment of much comfort, or to extensive usefulness.

Coming into the Church at a time when the collision of opinions and interests between the two great parties, the Coetus and Conferentie, was at its height; and connected with a congregation, which was in a state of very excited dissension, in consequence of his settlement among them as an English preacher it behooved him to look well to his goings: and he did so look to them. He was plain and affectionate in all his deportment: He complied with the existing practice of the Church in the most trivial things: He treated with the utmost respect the patrons of the Dutch language: He studied peace; and made it evident to all, in his public ministrations and private conversation, that his predominant desire was to win souls to Christ. It was his happiness, therefore, to enjoy, in a very high degree, the esteem and confidence of the congregation which he served, and of the Christian community at large. But beloved as was

PAGE 107:
CHAPTER III

Dr. Laidlie, and successful as had been his ministry, in the city, from the moment of its commencement, there still remained those, whom a blind and invincible attachment to the Dutch language, incited to a course of conduct exceedingly blame-worthy in itself, and, in no small degree, vexatious to the Church. They 'were not to be reconciled to the innovation; nay, seemingly the more chagrined, the more popular it appeared to be, they were incessant in their efforts to obtain such a preponderance of their party in the government of the Church, or such a triumph over the Consistory in a civil suit, which had been instituted against that body for a supposed illegal act, as would give them the power of exploding it.

The nature of the suit alluded to, which, though commenced nearly two years before, was yet undecided, and which must be noticed a second and a third time in the succeeding pages, as involving the final settlement of the question relative to the language, it is proper should be here briefly but distinctly stated.

Soon after the blank call was sent to Holland, the principal opponents of the measure concerted among themselves a plan for turning out of office those that had given it their support, and putting






        
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